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Cooperation Lesson with MP3 

The transcript for the Cooperation MP3 Lesson

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Keys to Growth - Cooperation

Cooperation is the first lesson in the 12 keys to Personal Spiritual Growth.
This is probably surprising to you just as it was to the small group who received these readings from Edgar Cayce.
How could something which sounds so common-place be the cornerstone of growth?
The answer can be found in seeing the broad way in which the Cayce readings describe cooperation.
It is something much greater than just going along with what someone else wants done.
But before we explore the deeper meanings of this first key to growth.

Let's take an inventory.
It is a good idea to take stock of where you are now with Cooperation as you best understand it.
You need a piece of paper plus a pencil or pen for this exercise.

[You may pause the tape as you get prepared]

Now number that paper from 1 to 5 for our five item inventory of questions.
For each item rate YOUR FEELINGS on a scale of 0 to 10.
A zero (0) means IT IS NOT IMPORTANT.
A Ten (10) means IT IS MOST IMPORTANT.

Q1. To you, how important in life is cooperation from others? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Q2. To you, how important in life is cooperation from yourself? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Q3. Pick one family member and write down that person's name,
then ask yourself, how cooperative a person is he/she? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Rate that person's cooperation on a scale of 0 to 10.
Q4. Pick one work associate or neighbour - write down that person's name.
Then again, ask yourself, how cooperative a person is this individual? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Q5. Do the same thing for one other close friend.
After that person's name, write down your rating of how cooperative he/she is. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Now go back and look at Questions: 3, 4 and 5.
Rate how cooperative you are with each person.
Next to each of those names and ratings write down another 0 to 10 rating.
And put it in parenthesis().

Now put the piece of paper somewhere so that you can find it in a week or so.
When you have thoroughly worked on this first lesson.
Go back and look at your answers to these five questions.
Since you've been studying cooperation and doing experiments to enhance it,
see if any of these ratings might now be changed.

This step, COOPERATION, in THE 12 KEYS TO GROWTH, as with all the other ones
has an affirmation to use for meditation.

[Pause the tape now and take a moment to read it on page 22 on the ASFG Book.]

Not my will but Thine, O Lord, be done in me and through me.
Let me ever be a channel of blessings, today, now,
to those that I contact in every way.
Let my going in, my coming out be in accord with that Thou would have me do,
and as the call comes, “Here am I, send me, use me.” 262-3

This is a challenging affirmation.
Clearly, cooperation is more than just giving in to other's desires.
Cooperation involves surrendering your own limited will power to a higher will.
Cooperation presents the chance to be a channel to others of goodness.
As you meditate regularly for several days on this affirmation
you will be gaining new understanding and insight into the spiritual meaning of Cooperation.

Cooperation is the first step for each of us in our spiritual journey.
The Cayce readings urge:
"Learn that lesson of cooperation.
Become less and less selfish.
And more and more selfless in Him."

Just think what an essential ingredient Cooperation has been in the civilization of humanity.
Without cooperation there is anarchy and a complete breakdown of all relationships.
Sometimes we may find that cooperation is so necessary that its practically forced upon us.

For example, we all share the earth's limited resources.
And we must collaborate in sharing them.
Also when we fail, strife and sometimes even war and destruction follow.
When we do unite, peace is the result.
Unfortunately if we look at the history of mankind, we can see that our cooperation record
has not been very good.

Each of us has opportunities for cooperation on many levels.
One level is the family:
Are you loved and loving as a family member?
Or is family life marked with squabbles and dissension?

What about at work or at school:
Is this a pleasant experience or is it drudgery and a daily dread?

Review your friendships.
Do you have many friends?
Do you have close friends?
Do you feel that you can trust your friends?

Here again, cooperation may be what makes the difference.

Health can also be a level where this lesson can be expressed.
Is your health good?
Do you cooperate with and maintain a healthy body and mind?
For example, your body frequently speaks to you about it's needs.
Many of us fail to listen or act in accordance with the body.

And finally, how is your relationship with the Creative Forces or God.
Do you feel close to God?
Do you feel an attunement with events and forces around you?
Do you feel blessed in life?

The natural way of things is cooperation.
For example, think about how the planets and universe reflect this.
Each planetary body signs tells us influences the others.
We know now that the Sun, moon and stars affect each of us and
even sustain our very lives.
The planet earth on which we live along with its natural laws exemplifies unity.

The modern signs of ecology is a study of the balance and cooperation with nature.
For example, when people first came to North America,
They indiscriminately cut down trees and an imbalance was created.
Wild life diminised. Erosion followed.
Rivers and streams were poluted and silted.
Fish died. Other animals ate the fish and were affected.
And the process of destruction went on and on.
There is a compelling need for cooperation on planet earth.
If any life is to survive.

Even our bodies when healthy, express the need for harmony.
If there is an imbalance, disease results.
If we loose sleep, have an over-exposure to the elements, or maintain a poor diet,
there is a lack of coordination with the body,
injury, sickness and imbalance follow.
We can conclude then, that all of God's handiwork reflects cooperation.
And cries out for its continuation.

The Edgar Cayce Readings recognize that the accepted defintion of cooperation
is an "acting or operating jointly with others or concurring with them in action or effort."
But the readings suggest an even higher standard that involves
"losing sight of self and becoming a channel through which blessings may flow to others."

He calls this spiritual as opposed to the usual physical variety.
As we continue with this lesson, we will be looking at these two types of cooperation.
The physical and the spiritual.

In either case however, they require AN IDEAL outside of oneself.
One that is above and beyond selfishness.

We have already noted that our very survival can force us to cooperate in some areas.
Even when we are not forced, we may find that it is necessary in order for us to develop properly,
with hope, peace and understanding within ourselves and toward others.

We should see how important it is to seek cooperation, with our fellow human beings,
as well as with the best that is within us in order to avoid being paralyzed by our negative thinking.
And it is a two-way street.
Negative thinking can also paralyze our best efforts.
Therefore, cooperation must be achieved through a combination of both right thinking and right acting.

Right thinking should be the natural result once we set a personal ideal for life.
Although we will look more closely at IDEALS in a later lesson,
here are examples of personal ideals chosen by some people:
Love. Peace. Harmony. Faith.

Once an ideal is set then we use cooperative means to pursue it dynamically and energetically.
This takes vigilance with our thoughts, ever comparing them with our ideal.
And remember that thoughts whether they seek agreement with others or dwell on
antagonistic differences, have a definite affect on the thinking and actions of
those around us.

Even in competition we can unify and exhibit right thinking if we consistently
and persistently seek the common ground with those around us.
Selfish competitive thinking is best to avoid.

It's exciting to discover that in cooperation you can strive for your best
and hope that another person does his or her best too.

If we stress a state of mind free from pessimism and cynicism in favour of
one that dwells on hope and expectancy then we can have the awareness of
our unity with each other and with our Creator.

Even when our interests and backgrounds are disparate and different
we can come together when we discover a common purpose.

The writers of the United States Constitution - the first document of its kind
ever written - could not have succeeded without a common aim and purpose.
And the unity that comes from like-minded individuals oriented towards the same
ultimate goal.

Whenever two or more people have a common objective - cooperation becomes possible.
And is a necessary ingredient for the success of the common venture.

Gradually we can lose our selfish ego oriented selves to a higher cause or purpose.
We can aim for the best that we know and make real the love, peace and helpfulness
toward one another.
Of course for this to be possible - our actions must coincide with our thoughts.
Sometimes when we act cooperatively - some degree of difficulty may be experienced.
For example, think of a time that you were determined to cooperative with someone.
As important as that intention was it still did not gurantee that everything
will go smoothly.
You may have experienced some kind of delay or irritation.
So in addition to setting a high ideal, active patience is required too.

Whats the practical method for starting to be more cooperative?
Probably the best place to start inside of ourselves is with our thinking patterns.

And the best place to try to practice this is with someone who has recently made us unhappy.
As A Search for God material puts it:
"Let us practice thinking kind thoughts of those who hurt us."
This line reminds us that to obtain harmony with those around us we must watch our daily thoughts and acts.
Especially when we feel there is justification to be unkind.

We can watch our thoughts at work, at home, with our family and friends, and even when we are alone.
Cooperation with another person doesn't just happen when we are physically present with them.

How can we monitor our thoughts and clean them up?
Here's an exercise to try:
Observe yourself in the mirror and objectively reflect upon your thoughts about a troublesome person.
If you find negativity there, try to replace it.

This process is sometimes difficult when it involves others.
But try to assume in your thoughts the best about this person.
And find something lovable about that individual on which you can focus.

For example, suppose you have an important meeting planned with this person,
before going to the appointment, attempt to meet that person on a higher level, through your thoughts.
Visualize the meeting occuring in a loving and harmonious atmosphere.

Or here's another exercise to enhance cooperation:
At the end of each day review your thoughts and activities for the purpose
of reaffirming a cooperative and loving attitude toward others.
Even those who may have hurt you and against whom you have anger.

The bible admonishes us:
"Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath."

We can recognize that each day we are presented with chances to be more harmonious.
A Search for God book advices:
"Let no opportunity pass to do a little act of kindness that will lighten the burden of another."

During a discussion of this quote, one of the members of a study group related
a story about a difficult working situation.
A relationship where she was required to share the office with a new employee.
The two were opposite in temperament. 
One preferring a closed door for privacy.
The other liked an open door and a friendly atmosphere which invited everyone in.
Tensions grew, until a confrontation resulted.
And they decided they couldn't work in the same office together.
One came in the morning and worked and she was leaving the other came in.
The situation got even worse in the ensuing year.
But the group member who had been trying to remedy the situation said pleasantly one day
to the other worker:  "I really enjoy hearing you laugh."
That simple sincere compliment turned the relationship around.
A friendship developed that has lasted for many years.

Most of us could tell stories like this.
If only we could remember to say that kind word.
Do the kind little act, things will be different.
It is a oneness of mind, a oneness of purpose which we must all seek.

Another passage from A Search for God says:
"Let us visualize the force of harmony and love in action."

As an exercise:
Think of those you are trying to cooperate with.
Visualize them. Picture their faces and send love to them.
You will find that this mental activity gives a feeling of oneness with the other person.

Let's try this exercise right now:
Make yourself comfortable in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed.
Close your eyes. And focus your attention on your breathing.
Let every breathe relax you further and further.
Let your mind stay alert.
Begin to focus your thoughts on a scene that is pleasant to you.
Paint the scene in your mind with whatever you find beautiful, relaxing and harmonious.
Revel in the beauty of the scene you have created.
Add anything to it that would add to your feeling of mental joy and beauty.
Now visualize a person with whom you want greater cooperation.
See this individual coming toward you in a setting you have created.
Pray for that person.
Asking God to help with whatever problems he or she may have.
If there are any grievances you may have with this person forgive them.
And ask God to help you make this forgiveness complete.
If you have done anything to cause problems with this person
even maybe without realising it. Ask God to forgive you.
Now, send your love toward the person and toward yourself.
Visualize an attitude of love and cooperation between the two of you.
Imagine some specific way that the two of you might give expression to this cooperative spirit
through action.
Now gradually begin to focus on the present.
Let your awareness first come back to your breathing.
Then bring yourself to full consciousness of the things around you.

You can repeat this exercise in the days ahead.
Until you recognize a definite change in the degree of cooperation between you.
It will happen.

With exercises like these and with consistent application of free will.
It is possible to make great strides in your own capacity to be cooperative.
The great promise is if you apply these thoughts and actions in our lives
we will develop the knowledge of the Oneness of the Creative Force or God.
We will find a new joy in life and obtain better health - both physically and mentally.
We will develop new understandings with others and an eternal inner peace.
These are great promises but there is a price to pay.
In accepting this gift we must give up self-interest.
Doing so is a difficult assignment at first.
Because we have so much invested in our self-interest.
But when we finally make the commitment and do offer ourselves as channels of the spirit
we will find a happiness that is greater than any we have ever known.
Remember that these gifts take time to develop and we must be aware of the magnitude of the undertaking.
We are seeking to understand and actually be channels for the spiritual forces, the great mysteries of life.
And as with all great works it will require the cultivation of patience and persistence.

Cooperation is the first of the 12 keys to spiritual growth.
But it is not one that we finish and then move on to the next ones.
Cooperation continues throughout our work on the other 11 keys.
Perhaps the reason it comes first is that it is needed in conjunction with the rest.

The sharing of personal experiences can help each of us better understand the meaning of cooperation.
And how to achieve it.

One person said:
"I've just been going through a move. As with all major steps like that,
I have had lots of questionings. I finally tried to keep myself out of the way
and let God handle things. After I let go both the conditions and peoples seems to surround me
with blessings throughout the transition. I found all things worked out for the best.
When I was in the flow of the spirit."

Another said:
"At work I am dealing with someone who has a very difficult personality.
When I brood about the problem it seems to get worse.
But when I try to let go and love this person as I want God to love me.
I begin to feel my fustrations melt away."

When cooperation is finally realized in a particular area of life with which you've worked.
Even though you may feel that this problem is behind you
- continued positive thoughts and actions are required.

The on-going nature of the process can possibly best be illustrated by this eastern parable:
"A student once met a wise holy man coming along the road carrying a heavy load.
The student asked the man: 'What is it like to be enlightened?'
The holy man set down the burden, lifted his arms to the sky, and radiated light.
Impressed, the student then asked: 'Master, what is it like to return to earth, after enlightenment.
The holy man reached down, picked up his heavy load, and lumbered on down the road.
Continuing to radiate love and light."

We must pick up our burdens and radiate love and light throughout life's journey.
We have the chance to meet the circumstances and people around us, and lift them up
through cooperation.

In essence this process is the core of what A Search For God material is all about.
This first of the twelve keys - contains within it the heart of all the others.

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Updated: 8 August 2017